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John, the day after

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John hated the hangover. Going out the night before was fine but the hangover, and the apparently inevitable let down that seemed to go with, it had begun to make him question nights out with Mike.

Two men out on the pull. Between them they were hardly the catch of the night, and John never really seemed to find women his type anymore anyway. Given his luck he’d begun to wonder what his type was. Now they all seemed too short, too soft, too loud … too … orange. Maybe he should take a proper look at dating sites, give himself a better chance. In the meantime, another ‘boys’ night out and he didn’t know who was more desperate – Mike and his honestly not receding hairline or himself and his ‘Yes I am a doctor. No, I share a flat’. Bloody London prices making him feel like a student again after everything he’d been through.

He couldn’t quite remember getting back to the flat. Of course there would have been a taxi, always taxis now, then he must have done the fuzzy stagger up the stairs. Coat dropped, shoes kicked off, detour to the bathroom to empty the beer out before going up the last flight to bed.

He sat up slowly, swung his legs out of the bed and kept his head down, tried not to open his eyes to the glare through the window and settled on allowing the merest slit of red tinged light through mostly closed eyelashes. There was something not quite right. Slow thoughts in a thick head trying to work out what was wrong. His smart arse flat mate would have had it all worked out, but then his smart arse flat mate wouldn’t have been out at all hours wasting his time looking for a likely woman. Not his ‘area’. Being a smart arse was his area, being bloody brilliant was his area, but not women.

John didn’t want to think about Sherlock. He didn’t open his eyes and didn’t really want to think about why the light in his room didn’t seem quite right.

Another night of bad Karaoke and too loud women, too much beer (was it just beer? Vague recollections of Sambuca lurked in wait at the end of that train of thought). Another night of John looking and not seeing what he wanted. Or …

Lips. Tongue. Feeling of soft hair curling between his fingers.

He didn’t remember bringing anyone back. That would normally lead to the huffs and a sulk (God, could Sherlock sulk when he wanted to). Did anything happen or just wish fulfilment?

John kept his eyes closed. Tried to sit still. Be calm. If there was someone else in the bed he certainly didn’t want her to think he was regretting anything. How long had he been sat like that? He should have been smiling and offering to make breakfast. He couldn’t smell perfume. He couldn’t smell anything out of place in 221B - just the semi-permanent, vaguely medical, background smell of preservatives and whatever Sherlock had been burning/boiling/microwaving recently.

Gently, behind him, a soft sound. The slight chink of a china cup being placed into a saucer. There was someone else with him.

John opened his eyes. This was not his room. This was 221B right enough, but this was not his room.

Sat on the side of the bed, silent, John Watson put his head in his hands. He had just woken up in Sherlock’s bed. Sod calm, he had to remember how the night had ended. He took a deep breath and tried not to make it sound like a sigh.

He’d said goodbye to Mike. Then the cab, he was sure he’d been on his own in the cab, weaving around in the back of the vehicle (seemed strange to be on his own on the wide seat), trying not to think of the trust placed in cabbies and the power they have over people drunk or sober. The cab. The door. Then the stairs. Coat on the hanger or over his chair? Over the chair. Scarf and gloves on the table next to his laptop. His laptop had been in his bedroom … oh bloody Sherlock going through his browser history again, have to do something about that. Anyway, shoes off, starting on his flies on the way to the bathroom. No Sherlock in the living room, or the kitchen. No light showing through from his bedroom as John relaxed and emptied his bladder.

Oh. He’d been angry. It came back to him. He’d been angry. At Sherlock. Not just about the laptop. More important than that. He’d been angry and he’d just woken up in Sherlock’s bed. He’d been angry and from the bathroom he’d gone through the glass panelled door to his flatmate’s room, not back to the hallway and kitchen, not upstairs to his own room. He’d gone through the door he never used. And he’d shouted at Sherlock.

Not about the laptop. Not about the body parts on the wrong shelf in the fridge. About women. About the loud women who were too orange, too drunk, too lairy, too … not-Sherlock. And he’d sat on the bed, heavy and defeated with the realisation. And, instead of the outraged response he’d expected/feared/hoped(?) a hand had taken his and he’d finally looked into the face hidden in the shadows of the room.

John Watson lifted his head and opened his eyes. A bedside table much like the one in his own room. Old, but well made. A cup of tea. A china cup, in a saucer. One of Mrs Hudson’s best china cups, three biscuits balanced in the saucer. The sound behind him was repeated. Whoever was with him seemed to be taking everything in their stride.

Belatedly, John realised that his thoughts had gone from ‘her’, to ‘their’ …

“Drink your tea John, you’ll feel better for it.” … and now ‘his’. He was in Sherlock’s bed, and so was Sherlock. Apparently. John gulped. He’d been angry about lips, about wanting to kiss a smart mouth. He’d been frustrated because he just never seemed to meet the right lips, soft and quick, agile as the mind behind them. The voices coming from the mouths he met had been too shrill in the pubs and clubs. Nothing like the baritone behind him. A reflex, John just had to look.

Sherlock, sat up against the heavy headboard, grey t-shirt turned inside out (dermagraphism my arse, John flashed briefly, just another excuse to be different), calmly sipping tea from another of Mrs Hudson’s best cups. Sherlock, like it was every day that he woke up in bed with another man. Sherlock, curls dishevelled … such soft curls …

John closed his eyes again, quickly. He held on to his knees. Tried to remember how the night had ended.

Angry. Angry about lips. And Sherlock had given him his lips. Angry about tongues. And Sherlock had … had ….

Such soft curls between his fingers, the feeling of lips and tongue (such a clever, clever tongue) around his cock. Panting, gasping, crying out the name as he came in the clever, clever mouth.

“Mrs Hudson …” what to say? What had their ‘landlady, not your housekeeper dear’ seen when she brought the morning tea.

“I asked Mrs Hudson not to say anything.” John dreaded what might come after the pause. “Though I suspect that it will be a while until anything other than a dog will be able to hear her anyway.” Sherlock smiled at John. A true smile. “She left an extra biscuit for you. It’s the weekend John. Criminals are in the parks with their children and even Mycroft has found himself something entertaining in the provinces. Do you have any pressing need to be elsewhere?”

“No” Of course Sherlock knew he had no plans, Sherlock always knew.

“Then stay with me a while. Drink your tea.”

John slid back across the bed. He sat next to his … his what, he wasn’t quite sure … and leaned back against the wood. The polished headboard was equally smooth as the high thread count material of the sheets. Nothing to irritate alabaster skin. Like his shirts, nothing new but very high quality. Nothing to irritate …

“Why are you wearing that t-shirt?”

“We’re in bed together and you are asking about clothing?”

“Well, it’s not like I’m wearing any.” John paused as if only realising it when it said it. He wouldn’t have believed it but Sherlock’s smile got even wider, his eyes crinkling up with the effort. “I’m not, so why are you?”

“Oh John, we’ve been through this.” The indulgent grin might have been annoying previously but John was beyond caring, he loved all of Sherlock’s smiles. “Some sensations are just too intense. Like my soaps, like the washing power I have to have, this reduces the risk of irritation. Cuts down on distractions.”

“Normal people with dermagraphism use aqueous cream Sherlock, not something with a hand written label with your name on it and the date it was cold pressed from angel tears or whatever it is you have made. Normal people just get on with it.” He paused to take a sip of tea and hmmmphd his opinion of Sherlock’s rather specialised – and no doubt expensive – skin care regime and got an eye roll in return. Oh well, it seemed that that hadn’t changed.

John had always wondered. The unnecessary gloves, the distance from people (other people, John realised, Sherlock had always had odd ideas about personal space where he seemed to be concerned), the social gaucheness … Some people said freak or psychopath, Sherlock always said sociopath. Between them John and Lestrade often said Asperger’s (but very quietly). John had tried to stay away from some of the more esoteric labelling debates but now his hung-over mind, possibly in an attempt to distract him from his own situation, screamed Sensory Integration Disorder and ticked a box on his Asperger bingo card.

Sucking off your drunken flatmate did not seem to be a recommended way of reducing sensory input. Oh God, and he’d swallowed. Surely a reflex. They hadn’t discussed it … actually there hadn’t been much of anything like conversation after his initial outburst. Well, John thought, that wasn’t very considerate of him. Had the fingers in the curls held on too tight, had he given Sherlock the chance to pull away as, mindless and ragged, he spent himself in that clever mouth? Did Sherlock even realise that there were other options?

John nibbled at a biscuit. The slight tremor in hand was clearly the sign of a hangover, nothing to do with his rather delicate state of mind. Tea and biscuits. Miraculous as Mrs Hudson’s tea appeared to be it was not, however, served in bottomless cups. At some point the day had to begin and this fragile peace would end.

“So, are you wearing any pants?” He grinned, falling back on an old line as he nodded at the sheet pulled up about his waist. To the ex-army man the material certainly felt like good enough quality to be worn to the Palace. He couldn’t help but think of the only time he’d been close to seeing his friend naked.

“Nope.” The plosive ‘p’ had John looking at his flatmate’s lips again. John shifted and hunched over slightly as other parts of his anatomy suddenly seemed to wake up under the same sheet. “Silk pyjama trousers.”

“I thought you slept … that’s to say … I …” John Watson was suddenly aware that he could have started a sentence that revealed far too much about some of the thought processes he had about his flatmate since the whole Palace thing. He concentrated on the bone china cup.

“I calculated the level of probability that you would return – alone - and would want to vent (I believe the term is) about certain needs. I also knew you wouldn’t want to hurt me so I covered up should we end up sharing the bed.”

“You knew I would sleep with you?” Teacup, empty. Out of distractions. Shit. “I didn’t know I would sleep with you! I didn’t know I wanted to sleep with you.” The Palace, the things Mycroft implied, the Woman, no, ‘The Woman Woman’, – was it true, was Sherlock a virgin?

Watson’s heart hammered in his chest. No. John had been the drunk one, Sherlock as sober as only he could be. He hadn’t taken advantage of the younger man. Whatever he’d said, he hadn’t taken advantage. He wouldn’t. Like he would never force a partner to do something they weren’t happy with … And Sherlock, for the lack of attention he paid to his ‘transport’, John had seen the strength in those ridiculously long limbs, there was no way Sherlock would do something he didn’t want to do.

Long fingers pulled John’s chin around to face his companion. There may have been a hint of blush across sharp cheekbones.

“John, you asked me for something last night. It was in my ability to provide what you wanted.” Kaleidoscopic eyes blinked, breaths were taken – to steady nerves? “And … I was happy to do that. Am happy to do that. Always.” A brief frown. “Obviously not at a crime scene or other inappropriate times. I’ll trust you to know if it’s a bit not good.”

The pause between them lengthened. Sherlock tilted his head to one side, watching his friend / partner / whatever they were for some kind of response. “Is that okay? Is that what you would like?” Sherlock’s hair was a mess, his lips plumped and possibly bruised from the night before.

“I’m not gay.” Somehow, this time, it did not sound like a defence but more like an acknowledgment of John’s confusion. He did not fancy men. Not one bit. Except, it seemed, for just one man.

“That’s ok, I don’t think I’m anything.” A whole world of labels got shut back in the dictionary.

“Oh. So when The Woman Woman called you a vir-.” A fingertip on John’s mouth buttoned up the word. It was difficult not to push his tongue out to lick the whorled pad against his lip.

“It was just transport John, it got in the way of the Work. Another needless distraction.” Blue green eyes followed the fingertip’s journey of discovery outlining John’s lips.

“Why last night then? Everything we’ve been through and nothing. And you want to do that again ... how do you even know you liked it?”

“Because you asked me to. Because you’re you. Because I want to hear you say my name like that again.” Sherlock frowned, a sudden cloud across his features as something occurred to him. John couldn’t help but be distracted by the way he bit on his luscious bottom lip. That lip could get them both into serious trouble. “You didn’t answer me John … would you like me to do that again?”

John just sat and looked across at the younger man. Sherlock began to look worried and slouched down to bring his eyes level with John’s, his mouth just inches away. Inches could have been miles. “John?”

“Oh you idiot.” Inches became nothing as John gave his answer.